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U.S. Senate Passes Yakima Bill!

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From Left to Right: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK). Photo Courtesy of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Yesterday, S. 1694, the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Act Phase III of 2015, was unanimously amended to the Energy Policy Modernization Act.  Today, that energy bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 85 to 12.

What does that mean for the Yakima Plan?  It puts us one step closer to achieving federal authorization and funding for fish passage, irrigation efficiency and habitat protection projects.  It brings the federal government closer to the bar set by the State of Washington in 2013, and it validates the Plan, yet again, as a model for comprehensive water management.



New white paper outlines a national policy framework for drought and water security

from the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Today, on World Water Day, Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) released a white paper to advance the development of a 21st century national framework for addressing drought and water security in the United States.

An unprecedented drought last year and 15 years of drought across the American West have demonstrated the need to rethink U.S. water management in the 21st century. Since 1980, droughts have cost the United States more than $200 billion. The drought last year caused widespread and serious impacts for communities, agriculture, industry and the environment. As drought is predicted to continue in the coming years and as communities throughout the United States face significant water-security challenges, it is a crucial time to evaluate and develop new strategies at the national level.



Committing to the future of the Yakima


Winter flows in the Teanaway – Image credit TU

By Kira Finkler, Legislative Counsel-Water Policy Adviser, Trout Unlimited

Originally posted on the Trout Unlimited Community blog.

Earlier this week, the President unveiled his Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal highlighting, among other accomplishments, that it “protects and modernizes our water supply and preserves our natural landscapes.” We were thrilled to see this commitment represented within the Bureau of Reclamation’s $15.8 million request for Washington State’s exemplary Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project, a $3 million increase over last year. This significant funding boost will help ensure that meaningful progress is made on key components of the cooperative Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.


Reviving Floodplains to Reduce Flood Damage


(Right to left) Michael Garrity, Brian Graber, Eileen Shader and Jonathon Loos visit restored floodplains on the Yakima River in eastern Washington (credit: Jonathon Loos)

American Rivers staff toured the Yakima and Puyallup river floodplains during the week of December 7-11, when heavy storms caused flooding on both sides of the Cascades.  They had come to learn about regional floodplain restoration efforts, and were treated to floodplains in action!  (more…)


Yakima Plan gathering momentum

by Nicky Pasi

On November 19th, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed Senator Cantwell’s Senate Bill 1694 which, if signed into law, will authorize federal involvement in implementing the first ten years of the Yakima Plan.  The next step in this process?  A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.  U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Dave Reichert (WA-08), who have long supported the Yakima Plan, hope to introduce such legislation before the end of the year.


Representative Newhouse meets with the YBIP Workgroup Executive Committee (photo credit: Tim Hill, Dept. of Ecology)

Yesterday (November 24th), in a roundtable press event in Yakima, Representative Newhouse met with members of the Yakima Plan Workgroup’s Executive Committee to discuss the collaborative process that brought them all to this point, and the Plan’s importance as a model of integrated water and ecosystem management.  With  discussion of west-wide droughts echoing around DC, Rep. Newhouse applauded the committee members for getting a head start on bringing forward a workable solution.

“On the eve of introducing our legislation in the House,” Rep. Newhouse said, “This is an important meeting for us to hear final comments or continuing comments about where we are, where we need to be, and some of the challenges we still face.” (more…)

Fish. Families. Farms.
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